You're Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner
It isn’t about seeing my art on the wall. It’s about putting a feeling out into the world. It’s communication, a release.” When Julia gets expelled from the Kingston School for the Deaf for vandalism, she doesn’t give up her street art—she just gets better at hiding her illegal activities. Her new mainstream school is forty minutes from home and Julia soon finds new places to tag. But the paint has barely dried before an unknown hand has altered her work. Angered by what she perceives as competition, Julia sets out to discover the identity of the culprit. Who is bombing her art? The reveal will likely surprise the reader as much as it does the story’s spunky protagonist.
Gardner’s well-crafted plot and compelling main character make this novel hard to put down.
It’s also visually engaging, with examples of Julia’s artwork (drawn by the author) peppered throughout the narrative. In a manner that is both educational and entertaining, Gardner subtly illustrates the challenges that Deaf individuals face in the hearing world. Through Julia’s eyes, the reader experiences the difficulties of lip reading, the annoyance of special accommodation and, among other things, the misconception that deafness is a handicap. Though Gardner introduces some weighty issues (bullying, anorexia, racism, same-sex parents, etc.), she doesn’t dwell on them. A fun but thought-provoking read; highly recommended for anyone interested in the arts or Deaf Culture. (review by CatWriterLibrarian
Tessa's Picks, 8th grade, 8th grade summer 2017, Contemporary Fiction, Character Driven, Issues Fiction